Iran deal makes world a safer place, says US president

17 January 2017

One year on from implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US president said the agreement with Iran "must be measured against the alternatives". Meanwhile, Behrouz Kamalvandi, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) for International, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, is on a two-day visit to Moscow to discuss progress with the JCPOA.

A statement from the US president's office yesterday said the deal had achieved "significant, concrete results in making the United States and the world a safer place", adding, "this historic understanding … has rolled back the Iranian nuclear program and verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

According to Iran's MEHR news agency, Kamalvandi was invited to Moscow by Nikolay Spassky, deputy director general for international affairs at Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, "to discuss bilateral and technical issues".

Signed in July 2015 by Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA - also referred to as the P5+1 - plus the European Union), the JCPOA officially began on 16 January last year. Under its terms, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium over the next 15 years. Implementation Day followed IAEA verification that Iran had fulfilled key commitments spelled out under the JCPOA.

The IAEA announced yesterday that Iran had removed excess centrifuges and infrastructure from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, in line with the JCPOA requirements.

"The JCPOA required Iran, within one year from Implementation Day, to complete the removal of all excess centrifuges and infrastructure from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant and to transfer them to storage at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant under continuous Agency monitoring," IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said yesterday. Amano confirmed that "on 15 January 2017, the Agency verified that Iran has taken these actions related to Fordow" and that "Iran has carried out these steps within the timeframe stipulated under the JCPOA".

The US president's statement, which did not give Barack Obama's name, said Iran's nuclear program "faces strict limitations and is subject to the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program". Iran has reduced its uranium stockpile by 98% and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges, the statement added.

"Iran has not enriched any uranium at the Fordow facility, nor used advanced centrifuges to enrich ... In short, Iran is upholding its commitments, demonstrating the success of diplomacy ... There is no question, the challenges we face with Iran would be much worse if Iran were also on the threshold of building a nuclear weapon," it said.

The president stressed that the JCPOA was the result of "years of work" and represents an agreement between the world's major powers. The agreement "must be measured against the alternatives - a diplomatic resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is far preferable to an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program or another war in the Middle East," it concluded.

In a separate statement, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said yesterday the JCPOA is "grounded in strong technical analysis" provided by US Department of Energy scientists, including at its national laboratories, and supported by "unprecedented" IAEA verification measures. Moniz added: "One year after Implementation Day, the Iran nuclear deal is working, increasing regional and global security."

President-elect Donald Trump is due to be sworn in as the new US president on 20 January. 

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News